Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Blankets and Wine: Estelle, Muthoni D.Q, Sage, Jarel

Of heavy, hype weekends and forgotten obligations. Last week three posts were meant to go up but only one made it. Typical.

I figured instead of alluding to what happened this Sunday through a lone vague paragraph why not actually write about it. So, it all starts on Thursday evening and a local t.v show, Victoria's lounge. No lie, I am actually really into it. If I happen to be home on a Thursday night,Vicky's lounge is right up my alley. It's just one of those shows... I guess. I digress, basically all I needed to do, post a picture of myself in my best black and white get up with the hashtag #NiveaBandW on Twitter and I stood a chance of winning a ticket to Blankets and Wine. So to all of y'all who thought  that homegirl has got the funds to get herself to Blankets, the secret's out.

But what made this so special, it was A ticket not the usual pair of tickets. I was expected to be my own company for the  day. The temptation to skip out or give the tickets to my sister who runs a music blog over at The Bar and would have every reason to go was rife but in my heart of hearts I knew I would regret it. So there I was, sunnies on, leather jacket and Maasai shuka in tow ready to have a good time on my free ticket if it was the last thing I would do.

My self consciousness levels were sky high since I was absolutely terrified of being seen by someone I know looking like a complete loser in one of Nairobi's most bumpin' events. Make no mistake, it did happen, but this loser thing, it is all a state of mind.

There I am walking the vast expanse of Ngong' Race Course waterfront, vast may be an understatement, looking for just the right spot. Everyone in their social circles and I see another 'loner' or,should I say brave soul , Rehema. Just like that, literally going light on the details, we became each others company. So, humanity isn't as cold as I presumed.

First artiste on the line up, Jarel. I did not hear of him till not too long ago. I would absolutely love to write nothing but the finest of things about his performance, here comes the but...but through Blankets' past it's common knowledge if you are the first act we aren't exactly expecting you to be the showstopper. I mean, not every opening act. I will say though, he got on that stage and had himself one hell-uhv-a-time; twerking, asking the crowd to get just a li'l ratchet and I have got to give him points for his style, not many a soul can pull of that long shirt, wide rimmed hat look.

Let's talk about Sage. She is someone who simply put belongs on the stage. Came out with big hair, bowler hat, kanga in the front denim in the  back and shorts and she just owned her set. Setting the pace with Maskini which is a personal favourite. If she only sang it would be good but honey, she went all out; on the keyboard, bass guitar, vocals and Working.That. Stage. A  lot can (and will) be said about  her own performed compositions, but the covers she did. There are only two ways about covers, thumbs up or thumbs down. No in between. So when Ms. Chemutai started on that Work(Rihanna ft. Drake) tip, I was in awe at the  stellar execution.

Sage did this one song about a girl in the little blue dress, the name escapes me. Live band goes quiet and its just her vocals, a sick red bass guitar and just this aura of still. It is also worth a mention that Olive from Blaze , the drummer,the one who makes you wait 5 seconds longer to get to your Youtube fix was on drums and fam, she got skills, mad skills.

The show stopper herself , the queen. To describe her performance, I feel like I would need the whole post. She brought everything plus the kitchen sink. From the moves, to some bars, her outfit , a bit of new material from her album which is in the works, the old which had the crowd adequately riled up, served up visuals in her backdrop which had mark my words the self portrait of the year, church windows, some sort of silent movie montage, lyrics and that's not all, then came the drum solo.

Here I was thinking Olive was money, don't get me wrong, she is, but her performance was mega upstaged. I am under the impression that Muthoni DQ calculated her performance to a T especially when it came to this solo. It was dark enough to have a spotlight emphasize her already massive presence on stage and she just went at this traditional drums with the ferocity of Uganda's Ndere Dance Troupe but the class of Sheila E. at Black Girls Rock 2015. They don't call her the Drummer Queen for nothing.

All this was coming from a lady who just a few hours was doing the Blankets and Wine rounds in a flower crown and a wishy, woshy shift dress looking like she didn't have a care in the world. Let the records show that concurrently B'n'W Kampala was happening ; she had two international acts on her hands and still slayed. Where I would be a bag of nerves, she's ultimate goals.

Resident DJ for the  afternoon was hitting us up in all the right places. He had a Kendrick Lamar set with just a side of Jay Z, a set for the girls;Yoga(Janelle Monae), Formation(Beyonce) and one for the fellas; We Dem Boyz (Wiz Khalifa), Panda (Desiigner). Short, sweet and worth a mention, no?

She sure came to show the 254 love, Miss Estelle. On the real though, I was not exactly dying to see her so I didn't stay for her whole performance. I do know that we moved her to tears when we sang along to 'Come over'. Mad props should be given to her for performing  covers; Bob Marley-Is this love,Oliver Twist-D'Banj as opposed to a whole bunch of new singles which, well would have the crowd least stimulated. Future international acts,borrow a leaf, unless well, we really love you, you wouldn't have to worry about that.

Sigh, nothing like an afternoon spent on wholesome festival vibes.

This may be the longest post to date, but hey, I don't make the rules, my thoughts and memories do.

Have a good one!

Thursday, 7 July 2016

Surviving College: How to find an internship/job over school break in Kenya

There comes a time in a student's life where you have to get out there and do stuff. Career stuff or just work related stuff to gain this thing called experience, prevent death by boredom or any other relevant reason you can think of. I have been at this crossroads enough to know some tricks of the trade. Every time I get asked by a peer or two how I got the gig, I tend to give a rather vague answer that goes something like, "Oh, you know, I just applied" and that just has to come to a stop,

Let's go back all the way back, I am talking my teens, eighteen, nineteen thereabouts. My freshman college days in Strathmore. Now, I am certainly not being paid to say this but Strath definitely has got the keys. Nearly every week there was a campus corporate event of some sort; career fairs, round tables, hack-a-thons. These shindigz almost always had the right people you needed to make the first impression of a lifetime to guarantee a job position of some sort.

Back then those were my selfish years. Honestly speaking, I had better things to do on a Friday afternoon (or so I thought) than attend these career jolting things. They were geared towards seniors any way who brought their A, for aggressive, game. Follow up meetings or word on the street the week after would be that someone scored an internship at some major company just by how much they put themselves out there. I hope you get where I am going with this. Basically, the world (your campus) is your oyster if you position yourself in the right place at the right time (said events) and actually put yourself out there; read up on the company or individuals just like you would if you were preparing for an interview so that you conveniently have some thoughtful insight to whatever is the topic of discussion.

Still around the same time I was an AIESEC-er which by the by has similar of the above said events, actually hosting quite a number even liaising with some really big names in the Kenyan corporate scene. That being besides the point, my VP for my portfolio at the time, Global Internship Program(GIP), worked for his dad. Hey Dwayne! To the human eye, you would probably go on and think classic silver spoon in mouth situation, probably didn't have to work quite as hard. On the flip side though, he used his connections. So who cares that you "didn't have to work quite as hard" my say, connections are meant to be used. Even my first internship was courtesy of my D-A-D. How is that for food for thought.

What I swear by though and has worked brilliantly for me in the past at least is online job adverts. Brighter Monday might as well make me their brand ambassador because I have got all but one of my internships from there; Storymoja, Tahoe Solar and now my current spot. During my cyber tarmacking days, I would type in something like "Internships in Kenya in July 2015" or "part-time jobs in Kenya in July 2015" and most times something that I was qualified for would pop up. Plain and simple, your search engine is your best friend. Finding it is just the the tip of the iceberg bookmark it because you know, life happens and apply...immediately before you get that pesky notification when you go back to submit your application, "This position is no longer available". It also helps to be on various job sites mailing list so that you are the first to cop that position.

You may want to go old school and drop your CV at offices physical address. Does this work? I have no idea but it's worth a shot . There is always a new building popping up in Nairobi nowadays, heck even whole business parks. If it is a new business they are almost always looking for an extra pair of hands. My advice always fake that you are office hunting or have an appointment because security isn't exactly very cordial towards job seekers. Hey, in this concrete jungle you have got to be shrewed.

On the new school front, more and more jobs are being advertised on your timeline at least on my Instagram feed. Diana Opoti @dianaopotipr advertised for twenty something African designers not too long ago, Kenya's favorite t.v duo Brenda Wairimu @brendawairimu_and Nick Mutuma @nickmutuma called for scripts a few months back for Kenya's first rom-com, Kiko Romeo @annmccreath @iona_mccreath (who by the way has a clothing line under her mom's label Kikoti and modelled for Kiko Romeo,now what did I say about connections again?) just last week set out an ad looking for models@lublaq looking for interns. Class up your social media, this falls under always having an ear to the ground.

That said,

Have a good one!  

Friday, 1 July 2016

THE ROOKIE- Shortlisted for Inaugural Campus Diary Wordfest

Hey guys,

An awkward greeting never hurt nobody. On to other things, as I oh, so,subtly put it in this post, I managed to be top 10 in a writing competition. This  is the "winning" piece.

Image: Rookie Magazine Logo (s/o to Tavi Gevinson who has always been goals!)


By Edwina Mapenzi

It seems like,

It almost seems like,

I got it twisted,


That’s all I wanted,

To be that girl on your feed,

The one who plants that seed,

Of want, no, of lust,

Of the “finer” things in life,

With that high pony puff,

And all that good stuff;

Edges sleek,

Eyebrows on fleek,

On the lips nothing but Nouba,

Don’t forget that winged eyeliner,

Endless trips to Java,

You already know

Because that lemonade

Be, Lit.

It wouldn’t be easy.

My time, my soul

Feels like a vice,

This huge hole,

Don’t get me wrong,

For a minute,

I was in it,

I mean, all in,

On a scale,

Everything was great,

Out of ten an eight.


Just with a drop of a hat,

More of a heart,

It all starts,

A shove in the corner here,

And a blind eye turned there,

At first I took it in stride,

Taking tolerance for the ride,


I couldn’t take it.

‘It must be me,’

I thought,
Surely, it must be

What else?

Who else?

But the rookie.


Never easy,

But this hard?


This endless

Back and forth,

Highs and lows,

Mostly lows,

New definition lows?

High definition lows.

At this point,

Auto pilot mode, activate.

Rolling with the times,

Of course,

Not so good times,


I’m up against the wall.

Down? Yes,

Out? Not even close.

I am better,

I am hurt,

And, now, I am a doormat.

Not anymore,

At least not any longer.

YOU don’t understand,

There, I’ve been,

That, I’ve done,

The circle of life.

But now I’m older,

Wiser, I think, I hope,

I pray.

It’s still in the works,

But my starting point

for today,

In the words of Queen Bey,

I will SLAY.

Have a good one!